In today’s world where news is literally at our fingertips 24/7, and any buffoon with an Internet connection and a computer can seem like a legitimate source of “information,” we’re facing a crisis where many aspects of our media are becoming dangerous. While words have always mattered, they matter more today than perhaps ever before. Every day I’m inundated with “news” that’s almost entirely derived from fiction. I can’t count the number of “viral” memes I’ve come across that were total and complete nonsense. I spend a good part of nearly every day, not so much trying to spread actual information, but trying to counter the plethora of disinformation that’s infected our society.
So, when political parties like the GOP, or jackasses like Donald Trump, blatantly fear-monger and push hate as part of their platform – it’s dangerous. You cannot keep people terrified and angry without expecting something to eventually transpire from that hate and anger.
Take for instance this past summer when members of our military were fired upon following the Jade Helm conspiracy nonsense where some believed that a military exercise was actually a ploy by the Obama administration to declare martial law and seize guns. This was a conspiracy that was legitimized by several fairly high-ranking members of the Republican party, including the Governor of Texas Greg Abbott.
Then there was last month in Colorado Springs when a domestic terrorist murdered three people (and wounded several others) after he targeted a Planned Parenthood, apparently motivated by the anti-abortion rhetoric that had been heavily pushed by Republicans since the summer. He even used specific rhetoric used by Republicans, alluding to “no more baby parts,” after being taken into custody.
Now we have an apparently rabid Donald Trump supporter, and potential domestic terrorist, William Celli, who’s been arrested in Richmond, California for allegedly plotting to harm members of the Muslim community with explosive devices he was making at his house.
Judging by several of the posts on Celli’s Facebook page, he seems very much like the typical Trump supporter that I’ve encountered over the last several months: proudly oblivious to reality.
Thankfully this crazy person was stopped before he could potentially do something deadly. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the madman who opened fire at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.
But both situations are examples where words matter. We cannot continue to have a society where large political parties are driving fear, hate and paranoia as a huge part of their entire party’s platform. If this keeps up, these sorts of situations are going to become much more frequent and more innocent people are going to end up dying because of it.
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